Friday, November 09, 2007

November 6 - 8, 2007 - Opua to Whangarei

This past week of dockside living has been interesting. It is very convenient to be able to step off the boat directly onto land. A whole week without dinghy butt! And it was nice to be able to do laundry without worrying about keeping clean clothing dry on the way back to the boat. We also slept really well, confident that we weren't going to drag into anyone during the night. But the comfort and convenience cost about $150. We just don't feel that it was worth it. Unfortunately, if we want to spend time living on the boat in Auckland, we'll probably need to stay in a marina. There just aren't many places to anchor around New Zealand's big city.

We are hauling out at Dockland 5 in Whangarei first thing Friday morning, so it is time to head south. We got a late start out of Opua on Wednesday morning. It was cold and rainy and perfect for snuggling down. We got underway around 9am. While I steered us out of the Bay of Islands, Sten whipped up some breakfast.
Holding onto my coffee cup for dear life

The Hole in the Rock - somehow a big tourist attraction

Due to our late start and a long, wet, cold day of beating into headwinds and short, steep waves, we only made it about three quarters of the way to Whangarei. This turned out to be fortuitous. We tucked into Tutukaka for the night. If we had left on time, we wouldn't have had the chance to say "Tutukaka" over and over again like a pair of twelve year olds. The entrance to the harbor at Tutukaka is very narrow, and challenging in strong onshore conditions, but once inside, the bay is very sheltered. While we anchored, a porpoise played around our bow.

The clouds cleared out overnight, and we woke to sunny skies. It was still cold, but the second day of the passage to Whangarei was much nicer than the first. We enjoyed views of pastoral, rolling hills, dotted with sheep as we made our way to the mouth of the river.

Late afternoon we pulled up to the short pontoon outside of Dockland 5. Just after we tied up, we helped another boat, s/v Kika, tie up on the other side of the pontoon. After a quick walk around our home for the next few months, we came back to the pontoon to find another boat waiting to tie up.

The new boat wanted to raft up next to us. These hoople heads had two tiny fenders out, tied low to the waterline, where they would do no good. We quickly rearranged our fenders to give us some protection. They also appeared to only have one dockline ready. As they headed towards us, the current caught them, and dragged them towards our transom. They would have hit us, if Sten and I hadn't been pushing them off - luckily their boat was pretty light.

While Sten held them off of our stern, the older guy on the bow threw a line to Nick from Kika, who was standing on our bow to catch it, but it wasn't tied off to anything on his end. Nick hauled in the line and tossed an end back to the older guy, who attempted to tie it to a cleat, over the life lines. Nick and I tried unsuccessfully to get the older guy to understand what he was doing wrong. Meanwhile at the stern, the owner was attempting the same trick. I jumped onto their boat, took the line from the older guy, and reran it under the lifelines.

We asked them if they had a spring line. They responded that they didn't have any "spring lines," like they were some exotic kind of rope. We grabbed some spare line and set up spring lines for them. I'm afraid that we must have come off as really bossy and unfriendly, but they threatened to damage our home with their lack of preparedness and skill. We were relieved when their ride came to pick them up.

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